LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 16, 2012) — The famous Kentucky Bourbon Trail adventure is making its way to Lexington, as Alltech’s Lexington Brewing & Distilling Co. becomes the seventh member of the unique and popular tour.
Located in downtown Lexington, the new $6 million distillery is scheduled to open in September with tours starting Oct. 1. It’s the first new distillery to be built in Lexington in more than 100 years.
“This is an exciting and inspiring day for us all,” said Jeff Conder, chairman of the Kentucky Distillers’ Association Board of Directors and Vice President of Americas Operations for Beam, Inc. “We’re honored that Town Branch is joining our prestigious tour of distilleries. We’re thrilled to add Lexington as a host community to greet thousands of visitors to our trademark attraction.”
“We’re grateful for the continued growth and success of our signature industry, and that Bourbon has returned to the heart of the Bluegrass,” he added. “We applaud and congratulate Alltech on this impressive new distillery – and proudly welcome them to the Kentucky Bourbon Trail tour.”
[pullquote_left]“Town Branch Distillery honors our rich history and our heritage. It strengthens our Lexington brand by valuing our authentic past. And it reflects the strength and vitality of our economy.” — Mayor Jim Gray[/pullquote_left]
Created by the KDA in 1999, the Kentucky Bourbon Trail journey features seven distilleries, each offering an educational experience on crafting the world’s finest Bourbon: Four Roses, Heaven Hill, Jim Beam, Maker’s Mark, Town Branch, Wild Turkey and Woodford Reserve.
“Kentucky Bourbon is a red-hot industry, and we are proud to support its continued growth around the world,” said Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear. “The addition of a new Lexington stop on the popular Kentucky Bourbon Trail tour will bring even more visitors and interest to the Commonwealth, and we’re excited about the future of this signature industry.”
The announcement was made at Alltech’s Lexington Brewing and Distilling Co. Conder and executives from the KDA and its member distilleries presented Alltech President and Founder Dr. Pearse Lyons with a plaque to signify their Kentucky Bourbon Trail membership.
“As delighted as we are that our new distillery is being added to the famed Kentucky Bourbon Trail excursion, what’s most exciting to us is what this means for Lexington. We’ve always been proud of our downtown location, and now our position on the tour will help guide visitors directly into the heart of Lexington,” Lyons said.
Alltech, a global leader in the animal health and nutrition industry, has established itself as an innovator in Kentucky’s growing craft distillery business with brands including Town Branch, Pearse Lyons Reserve malt whiskey and Bluegrass Sundown, a Bourbon-infused coffee drink.
The 20,000 s.f. distillery is built with Kentucky limestone and features glass walls on three sides to showcase the copper stills and fermentation tanks to outside viewers.
“We are putting finishing touches on the distillery now and look forward to sharing a Bourbon toast with visitors when we officially open next month,” Lyons said. “We know our guests will enjoy their experience visiting one of the few sites in the world to house both a brewery and distillery.”
Lexington Mayor Jim Gray said the addition of Town Branch to the Kentucky Bourbon Trail tour will further pay homage to the city’s Bourbon heritage and will be a tremendous boost to the proposed nearby Arena, Arts and Entertainment district.
“Town Branch Distillery honors our rich history and our heritage,” he said. “It strengthens our Lexington brand by valuing our authentic past. And it reflects the strength and vitality of our economy.”
Town Branch is named after the stream that runs under downtown Lexington, where many original distillers drew their water supply – purportedly coining the term “Bourbon and branch” for a Bourbon and water cocktail.
Jim Browder, president of the Lexington Convention and Visitors Bureau, said the new distillery’s inclusion on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail tour will provide numerous and significant tourism benefits.
“We are thrilled that Town Branch Bourbon is open for business in downtown Lexington,” Browder said. “The addition of a designated Kentucky Bourbon Trail tour stop in the heart of the city will give visitors even more reason to come – and stay – in Lexington. We’re proud to be associated with the Kentucky Bourbon Trail and all the tour is doing to bring business to the Bluegrass.”
Kentucky Bourbon Trail distilleries have recorded more than 2 million visits in the last five years, with 450,000 in 2011 alone, said KDA President Eric Gregory. Visitors have traveled from all 50 states and more than 50 countries, he said.
“If you want proof of the skyrocketing global popularity of Kentucky Bourbon, look no further than the Kentucky Bourbon Trail tour,” Gregory said. “Tourists from around the world are literally pouring into Kentucky to experience the one, true authentic home for Bourbon.”
The KDA’s Passport program – which rewards visitors who tour all participating distilleries – continues to grow at an incredible rate, said Adam Johnson, the KDA’s Director of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail® experience.
Nearly 12,000 people completed the historic journey last year, Johnson said. That record looks to fall soon as visitors flock to Kentucky in September for Bourbon Heritage Month activities and the Kentucky Bourbon Festival.
“We love adding another reason for people to visit the Kentucky Bourbon Trail experience and to sample our hospitality,” Johnson said.
This success is all part of the unprecedented resurgence in Kentucky Bourbon, Conder said.
An economic impact study by the University of Louisville, released earlier this year, confirmed the industry’s signature status: $2 billion in annual gross state product; 9,000 jobs with an annual payroll of $415 million; and $126 million in local and state tax revenue every year.
In addition, more than 4.9 million barrels of Bourbon are currently aging in Kentucky, the highest inventory in more than 30 years. That means there are more barrels than the 4.3 million people living in the state, according to the latest Census figures.
Bourbon also is a rising global symbol of Kentucky craftsmanship, responsible for 70 percent of all U.S. spirits exports, Conder said. To meet this unparalleled growth, Kentucky distilleries are investing nearly $220 million in equipment, aging warehouses and new facilities.
“Bourbon is in its largest expansion phase since Prohibition,” Conder said. “And only Kentucky, the birthplace of Bourbon, can provide the genuine experience with our rich history, tours, tastings and so much more.
“Today’s announcement is a great example of our industry’s success and we look forward to continuing this spirited momentum. A healthy, thriving Bourbon industry is good for our economy, it’s good for our local communities and good for our beloved Commonwealth.”
The KDA, a non-profit group founded in 1880, is the state’s leading voice on spirits issues, from taxes to tourism, technical matters and more.